Olivia Colman has been named the most powerful person in British television, according to a ranking by the Radio Times.
The actor, who will star as Queen Elizabeth II in the next series of Netflix’s The Crown, comes top of the magazine’s TV 100 power list, which attempts to rank the on-screen and behind-the-scenes individuals who have had an exceptional past year in British television.
Colman rose to prominence in Channel 4’s Peep Show before making award-winning performances in Broadchurch and The Night Manager. She is also due to star in the BBC’s forthcoming Les Misérables drama and as Strawberry in an adaptation of Watership Down.
Chris Chibnall, the new Doctor Who showrunner, takes second place, while third place is shared by siblings Daisy May and Charlie Cooper – the creators, writers and stars of BBC comedy This Country, which parodies rural life.
Other stars who make the top 10 include Declan Donnelly, who is preparing to host I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here without longt on-screen partner Ant McPartlin, BBC natural history presenter David Attenborough, and Luther star Idris Elba.
Hugh Grant is in seventh place following praise for his performance in A Very English Scandal, one spot above Vanessa Kirby, who won a Bafta for her portrayal of Princess Margaret in The Crown. Benedict Cumberbatch, who is preparing to play Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings in a forthcoming Channel 4 drama, comes ninth following his performance in Sky’s Patrick Melrose, while Nicola Walker completes the top 10 after appearing in The Split and Unforgotten.
Other individuals to make the top 20 include Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee, BBC journalist Carrie Gracie, who helped campaign for equal pay, and Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan.
The list is drawn up by dozens of actors and industry executives from major broadcasters and independent production companies, including Sir Lenny Henry, ITV director of television Kevin Lygo, and Amazon’s director of original TV Georgia Brown. Radio Times editors then choose the final ranking.
Susanna Lazarus, RadioTimes.com associate editor, said: “At a time of rapid change in the way we watch TV, how appropriate that our list is topped by a brilliant performer who has starred in some of the biggest broadcast shows of recent times and is soon to become the queen of on-demand as the lead in Netflix’s The Crown.”
The top 20
- Olivia Colman
- Chris Chibnall
- Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper
- Declan Donnelly
- Idris Elba
- David Attenborough
- Hugh Grant
- Vanessa Kirby
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Nicola Walker
- Lisa McGee
- Gareth Southgate
- Carrie Gracie
- Richard Cowles
- Jodie Whittaker
- Laura Kuenssberg
- Romesh Ranganathan
- Gary Lineker
- Piers Morgan
- Lennie James
Since you’re here…
A new period drama starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz is to premiere during the BFI London Film Festival.
The Favourite will be shown on the event’s American Express Gala night at Cineworld in Leicester Square on October 18.
Directed by Academy Award-nominated director Yorgos Lanthimos, known for The Lobster, the film is set in the early 18th century against the backdrop of the war between England and France.
Colman plays Queen Anne, while Weisz portrays Lady Sarah, her close friend who governs the country while the tempestuous Queen is unwell.
However, Lady Sarah’s close bond with the Queen is threatened when charming new servant Abigail, played by Stone, arrives, and she sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots.
The film also stars Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss, James Smith and Jenny Rainsford.
BFI London Film Festival artistic director Tricia Tuttle said: “This is wickedly funny film-making from Yorgos Lanthimos, who is operating at virtuoso frequency.
“The Favourite is a delight from start to finish, powered by a trio of riotous performances from Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, who are all clearly revelling in the wit and rhythm of the script. The perfect Gala for our principal partner, American Express.”
The film festival kicks off on October 10 with Widows, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Viola Davis.
It ends on October 21, with Laurel and Hardy film Stan And Ollie, starring Steve Coogan and John C Reilly and directed by Filth director Jon S Baird.
The Favourite, the new Irish-produced film from The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos, which stars Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, is to receive its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival.
The period drama is the third collaboration between Greek director Lanthimos and Irish company Element Pictures, and follows their success with The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Lanthimos, Colman and Weisz previously worked together on The Lobster.
Set in the early 18th Century, The Favourite promises much in the way of political and personal intrigue involving Britain’s Queen Anne (Colman), the Duchess of Marlborough (Weisz) and her servant, Abigail Hill (Stone).
Sensing an opportunity to move back up the social ladder, Abigail becomes the Queen’s new companion and, we are told, “she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way”.
The Favourite will screen in competition at the Venice International Film Festival, which runs from August 29 to September 8.
It will be released worldwide by film studio Fox Searchlight, opening in US cinemas on November 23 – a key month in awards season – and in Ireland on January 1.
One of the film’s Irish producers, Element Pictures’ Ed Guiney, described Venice as “the ideal world premiere for Yorgos’ bold and audacious foray into period filmmaking”.
“We hope audiences will embrace this unique and entertaining film and we are delighted to be working with Fox Searchlight on its international release,” he added.
Netflix has cast Olivia Colman to replace Claire Foy as Her Royal Highness in the drama series from Peter Morgan. Colman will take over the lead role for the show’s (not yet ordered but expected) third and fourth seasons. Foy was only set to play the young Queen for two seasons.
According to Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos, the plan is to have the period drama run for six seasons, following the Queen’s story throughout her whole life. “This is going to take Queen Elizabeth from age 29 to, presumably, the current day. We’ll see it lay out over decades,” the exec said last year. “The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show [run] over eight to 10 years.” Every two seasons, new castmembers are expected to be cast in the major roles to account for the years that have passed.
Foy herself spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about exiting the series, for which she won a Golden Globe earlier this year. “I’m quite philosophical about these things, and I think the amazing thing about the show is the fact that it will go on and that it hasn’t ended badly. It’ll go on and have another life,” she said. “I can’t wait to watch it, and I just think whoever they get to play that part, they’ll be extraordinary. I will never watch it with any sense of bitterness or regret. I will feel what I will feel now, which is so happy and lucky for the experience.”
Colman, who has had roles in feature films The Lobster and Hot Fuzz, will be seen next on the big screen in Murder on the Orient Express. Her television credits include Broadchurch, Fleabag and The Night Manager, the latter of which also won her a Golden Globe earlier this year.
The second season of The Crown is set to debut Dec. 8 on the streaming service. Season one castmembers Matt Smith (Prince Philip), Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret), Victoria Hamilton (Queen Mother) and Jeremy Northam (Antony Eden) will return. The series also will welcome newcomers Matthew Goode (as Lord Snowdon) and Michael C. Hall (as John F. Kennedy).
Speaking at the Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival, Waller-Bridge said: “Series 2 will be a whole new adventure and I’m beyond thrilled to be coming back.” She originally confirmed plans for a second season in March.
“The first season of ‘Fleabag’ introduced audiences to the brilliant and rebellious voice of Phoebe Waller-Bridge,” said Joe Lewis, head of comedy, drama and VR at Amazon Studios in a statement. “She’s one of the best and most dynamic showrunners in TV today and we’re so excited to bring a new season of the smart and hilarious ‘Fleabag’ to customers soon.”
The international hit comedy, which was adapted from Waller-Bridge’s award-winning stage play, was nominated for six BAFTA Television Awards in May, with Waller-Bridge beating out her co-star Olivia Colman to win for best female performance in a comedy program.
The actress and writer will next be seen opposite Margot Robbie and Domnhall Gleeson in Simon Curtis’ biopic of “Winnie the Pooh” author A.A. Milne, “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” and is currently shooting LucasFilm’s untitled Han Solo “Star Wars” film. She also wrote and is executive producer on BBC America’s 2018 thriller series “Killing Eve,” starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, which began shooting in Europe this week.
“’Fleabag’ signaled the arrival of a hugely distinctive writer with the mesmerizing performing talent to match,” said Shane Allen, controller of comedy at the BBC, who was in conversation with Waller-Bridge in Edinburgh on a panel discussing the show’s creation. “Phoebe’s career has shot up like a firework display in the last year, and the show has been rightly hailed as a modern classic. It’ll be thrilling to see where she takes the character in the next series.”
The first season introduced the dry-witted, angry, cash-strapped, grief-riddled, porn-watching title character played by Waller-Bridge, a young woman trying to cope with life in London while coming to terms with a recent tragedy. It co-starred BAFTA-winner Colman alongside Brett Gelman, Bill Paterson, Hugh Dennis, Hugh Skinner, Jamie Demetriou, Jenny Rainsford and Sian Clifford.
The comedy debuted on BBC Three, the broadcaster’s online channel, in July 2016. Amazon acquired it for Amazon Prime Video in May last year, ahead of its BBC bow, and launched it on the streaming service in September.
“Fleabag” is produced by Two Brothers Pictures in association with DryWrite for the BBC. Waller-Bridge executive produces alongside Jack and Harry Williams. Lydia Hampson is the series producer.
The new season was commissioned for BBC Three by Damian Kavanagh, controller of BBC Three, alongside Allen. Kate Daughton is the commissioning editor.
All3media International is handling worldwide sales.
Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams, stars of Lucy Kirkwood’s new play Mosquitoes at the National Theatre, will reflect on the acclaimed show in a talk next month.
Lauded by audiences and critics alike, the duo star as sisters with contrasting occupations: one a scientist in Geneva, searching for the Higgs Boson in the Large Hadron Collider and on the brink of worldwide fame, and the other based in Luton, sat by her computer, Googling. But tragedy throws them back together with chaotic consequences.
The talk will take place on Monday 18 September at 3pm, with tickets £7 (£5 concessions) and available through the National Theatre’s website.
Mosquitoes is currently sold out for its entire run, with the exception of good availability for the matinee performance on Wednesday 20 September. It is also still possible to buy seats via day tickets and Friday Rush.
The new play is penned by the Olivier Award-winning Kirkwood, who wrote huge West End hit Chimerica, and directed by the National Theatre’s Artistic Director, Rufus Norris, who will hold their own talk on Thursday 7 September at 6pm.
Further related events can be found through the National Theatre’s website.
David Tennant and Olivia Colman who played DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller in the ITV Show will take part in the event at Winchester Cathedral on December 7.
It is in aid of Breast Cancer Haven in Titchfield and The Murray Parish Trust.
Other high profile personalities from the world of TV and film who will take part include Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville and actor Timothy West CBE.
There will also be a performance by renowned soprano Claire Rutter, along with festive performances by a variety of Hampshire musical groups including Winchester Cathedral Girl Choristers.
BBC South Today presenter and chair of The Breast Cancer Haven Development Board Sally Taylor said:“Once again, we are extremely grateful for this generous support from our high profile friends. We are delighted to be working closely with The Murray Parish Trust to deliver something very special for Winchester Cathedral this year.”
Actress and co-founder of The Murray Parish Trust, Sarah Parish said: “We are so lucky to have such big names supporting this event and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that this will be a night to remember to raise as much funds as possible for these two incredible local charities.”
From September 600 tickets will be available. To register your interest or if you would like to be involved with or support the event in any way, contact Sally Hillyear on Sally.Hillyear@breastcancerhaven.org.uk or Sam Robson on firstname.lastname@example.org
Actors Olivia Colman, Alice Englert and Thomas Mann have been roped in to star in ‘Them That Follow’. The movie will be helmed by Brittany Poulton and Daniel Savage, who will direct it from their original screenplay. Bradley Gallo and Michael Helfant will produce the flick for Amasia Entertainment, along with Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel and Danielle Robinson for G-BASE.
The movie is a dramatic thriller which is set deep in the wilds of Appalachia, where a Pentecostal pastor, Lemuel Childs, and his believers handle snakes filled with venom to prove themselves before God. The story of the film focuses on Lemuel’s daughter, played by Alice Englert, who holds a secret that threatens to tear church apart. She also has romantic past with a nonbeliever, Augie, played by Thomas Mann.
As Mara’s wedding to a devoted follower comes close, she has to decide whether or not to trust the cruel matriarch of their community, Hope, played by Olivia Colman. In doing so, she has to put her heart and life at stake. The makers will begin the production work of the flick from October in Ohio.
Joining the previously announced Olivia Colman will be Amanda Boxer, Cait Davis, Vanessa Emme, Yoli Fuller, Paul Hilton, Joseph Quinn, Sofia Stuart and Olivia Williams.
Kirkwood’s play focusses on Alice (Williams), a scientist working to find the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron particle collider in Geneva, when a tragedy collides her life with that of her Luton-based sister Jenny (Colman).
Directed by National Theatre artistic director Rufus Norris, Mosquitoes has designs by Katrina Lindsay, lighting by Paule Constable, music by Adam Cork, sound design by Paul Arditti and video design by Finn Ross and Ian William Galloway.
Mosquitoes runs in the Dorfman at the National Theatre from 18 July to 28 September.
More information: HERE
Buy tickets: HERE
Director Kenneth Branagh and the starry cast of his new version of “Murder On the Orient Express” gathered in London on Friday to show off new footage from the upcoming adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit. Almost the entire ensemble cast, which includes Oscar winners Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz, “Star Wars” actress Daisy Ridley, BAFTA winner Olivia Colman and Tony winner Josh Gad, was on hand, with only Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer notable absentees.
They were later followed onstage by director Francis Lawrence, who introduced 18 minutes of footage from his upcoming spy thriller “Red Sparrow,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, which is currently shooting in London.
Branagh, who plays Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, introduced about 10 to 15 minutes of work-in-progress footage from the Fox film, saying: “This is the very first time any of this footage has been seen in this way. We’re very excited to share the promise and potential of this work.”
The footage featured four brief scenes that introduced the central characters, established the murder of one of them, and showed off the film’s epic vistas of snow-capped mountains. The footage was followed by the film’s trailer, which was first unveiled at CinemaCon in March.
Branagh and the cast spoke of the camaraderie on set, with Derek Jacobi, who plays the butler to Depp’s Edward Ratchett, describing the ensemble as having “a wonderful company feel about it.”
“What was very extraordinary was that we were all together,” added Dench, who plays Princess Dragomiroff. “It wasn’t like a film where you all do different bits. In this case we were all there all the time.”
Gad, who plays Depp’s assistant, said the backgrounds that were shot rolled by the windows of the on-set railway carriage during filming in England, “so it really felt like we were there.”
“I found myself going to the end of the train to watch the scenery go by as if I was on a real train, and I wasn’t the only one,” Branagh said, adding that the impression was so real to the cast and crew that it caused some ill effects. “Quite a few of us got motion sickness,” he said.
Gad said the production design was equally important to getting in character and into the story. “It was surreal. I just had the opportunity to go on the real Orient Express, and the detail that the production team brought is unreal, exquisite. It is so spot-on,” said Gad. “For us that intimacy really lends itself to Ken’s vision. When you’re in a confined environment, it creates a sense of unease, even if you have nothing to hide.”
The film, currently in post production and set for a Nov. 10 release, is the first big-screen treatment of Christie’s famous 1934 novel since Sidney Lumet’s 1974 version, which won a best supporting actress Oscar for Ingrid Bergman.
At the London event, Christie’s great-grandson James Prichard, who chairs the company that controls her estate, said the story was probably born of the prolific crime writer’s first trip on the legendary train in 1928 and that securing Branagh to direct and star was “awe-inspiring.” “He gets the grandeur of the work, and his vision as he first told it us made my hair stand up,” said Prichard.
Branagh said he made a conscious decision not to watch Lumet’s version, and that he had advised the cast also to avoid watching it. “Our goal is to try and find a new approach. That’s why classic stories are worth retelling,” he said, adding that “there are some surprises.”
Speaking later in the day about “Red Sparrow,” Francis Lawrence said he had about a week left to shoot on the film, which is due for release March 2, 2018.
The director said the film, which re-teams him for a fourth time with Jennifer Lawrence following the three “Hunger Games” sequels, was “definitely a hard R [rating].” He said the biggest thrill for him was working with Lawrence on a role that he described as “very brave and very different for her.”
“She was willing to take some risks in this movie I think she might not have been willing to do for someone she didn’t know,” said the director.
He also said the film’s Russian spy narrative became “more politically relevant the more we worked on it.” “One of the questions we had originally was that thematically it didn’t seem as relevant as it could, but that had completely changed in the past year. It rings very true now,” said Lawrence, who first read the book while in post production on the “Hunger Games: Mockingjay” films.
Although the film is based on the first book of a trilogy, he said there were currently no plans to do sequels. But he added: “If this were to work, it would be fantastic to do another one.”